Quad 33 restoration (Pt 1)

The Quad 33 preamplifier is 50 years old, now.

It was introduced by Quad Electroacoustics in 1967 (to partner the 303 power amp) and 120,000 units were reportedly manufactured over 15 years.

The Quad 33/303 was Quad’s first Solid State consumer preamp/power-amp set.

My Quad 33 is serial no.6184, which means probably late 60s-early 70s manufacture. Continue reading

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Aura Turntable redux – Skipper Wise

The Aura turntable was designed by New Zealander, Dave Whittaker and was manufactured in NZ and Australia over a period of 20 years from the mid 1980s.

This beautiful example of the Aura, is still in use in California at the home of Skipper Wise – musician, recording artist and co-founder of Blue Microphones.

Skipper’s interesting story about his Aura TT tells us also about the affable and gracious man that Dave Whittaker was:  Continue reading

Hayes Carll + Lindi Ortega + The Cactus Blossoms

Three of the headline acts at the week-long ‘Southern Fork Americana Festival’ in Auckland, New Zealand, 7-16 October.

Hayes Carll is a Grammy-nominated Texan songwriter and  Lindi Ortega originally hails from Toronto, but both have ‘paid their dues’ for well over a decade and have a handful of albums each.

On the other hand, young siblings The Cactus Blossoms have just issued their first album Continue reading

Terminator tonearm (Pt 3) – stop the chatter (updated)

The Terminator linear tracking tonearm combines an air-bearing with a (twin) ‘uni-pivot’ bearing.

Uni-pivot bearings need to be stabilised in order to handle the energy generated by a pick-up cartridge.

In this case, twin pivot points were in metal-to-metal contact with the arm-slider ‘V-brackets’ and some instability or ‘bearing rattle’ can be audible at times. Continue reading

Stax Records – Memphis

Most people interested in popular music, and soul music in particular, will have heard of Stax.  And of Memphis, Tennessee, USA.

Stax Records (originally Satellite Records), was created in 1957 by two ‘white’ siblings, Jim Stewart and his sister Estelle Axton – hence the name ST-AX.

Stax soon relocated their studio to an old movie theatre in a ‘black’ neighbourhood in South Memphis – at the time (1961), Memphis was still completely racially segregated. Continue reading